Woman Blowing Into Breathalyzer

What to Know About Ignition Interlock Devices in Washington

An ignition interlock device allows the driver to continue to use his or her car but also ensures that the driver is not operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol.

These devices allow the driver to continue driving during any Washington license suspension period.

This can be especially helpful for individuals who need to drive during this period of time for their job.

What Is an Ignition Interlock Device?

An Ignition Interlock Device (IID) is an instrument that a driver has to blow into before the vehicle can start. The device measures the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC). It must be at a level below .025 for the car to start.

An IID must be installed by someone certified by the Washington State Patrol, and once installed, the installer will need to submit proof of installation to the state. A list of approved installers can be found at: www.wsp.wa.gov/driver/duiimpaired-driving/ignition-interlock/.

The driver needs to submit proof of the ignition interlock device and proof of SR-22 insurance. Once all of this has been submitted and the Washington DOL has approved the ignition interlock license (IIL) application, the driver can operate the vehicle at any time so long as the car is equipped with an IID

Who Is Required to Install an IID?

Defendants who have been convicted for an alcohol or drug-related DUI or Physical Control of a Motor Vehicle are required to install an IID. Previously, an IID was not mandatory, but it has now been made a mandatory requirement. The same would go for some convictions involving reckless driving or negligent driving. Courts additionally have discretion to order IIDs to be installed, depending on the crime involved.

An IID will be required to be installed in any vehicle the defendant drives. If the defendant has to drive an employer-owned vehicle during the work day, he or she can submit an Employer Declaration for Ignition Interlock Exemption to avoid getting the IID installed in the car. However, if the employer’s vehicle is only assigned to the defendant for commuting to and from work, the IID will still need to be installed on the car.

How Long Does the IID Need to Be Installed?

How long an IID needs to be installed depends on the offense committed.

If the conviction is for reckless driving, the IID normally needs to be installed for at least six months. If the conviction was for negligent driving, the IID also needs to be installed for a period of at least six months. If the defendant was convicted of a DUI offense or physical control over a motor vehicle, the length of time the IID needs to be installed depends on how many prior offenses have been committed.

If it is the defendant’s first offense, the IID must be installed for at least one year. For the second offense, the term can be at least five years. For any subsequent offenses, the defendant must have the device installed for at least ten years.

Certificate of Compliance

Once the defendant has completed the required IID time period, a certificate of compliance will be submitted to the court. The certificate will normally come directly from the IID vendor. However, if the driver violates any of the provisions of the IID, the compliance period will restart.

Violating the IID requirement is essentially considered a probation violation, which could mean jail time for the defendant. Most courts will also consider a violation as a completely separate offense, resulting in an additional criminal charge.

How Much Does an IID Cost?

The defendant will be responsible for paying for all costs associated with an IID, including the cost of installing, leasing and removing the device, costs of maintaining proof of financial responsibility or the insurance certificate, the non-refundable ignition interlock license application, and the monthly IID Revolving Account fee that is created to help drivers who have low income and cannot afford to pay the costs of the device.

If the driver cannot pay for the costs of the IID, this inability to afford the device can put him or her in a difficult position, especially if the driver needs to get to and from work.

Washington does offer assistance for low-income drivers during this time period. It requires an application from the defendant, and if the application is approved, the program will reimburse the provider $80 per month for services including installation, the monthly lease fee, the cost of removing the device, and the costs associated with transferring the device to another vehicle, if needed.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Drunk Driving Arrest

Common Defenses for DUIs in the State of Washington

Many individuals who have been arrested for a driving under the influence (DUI) in Washington fear that they have no other options.

However, several defenses do exist to help someone facing a DUI charge. These defenses can reduce the charges or even could throw them out altogether.

Below are some of the more common defenses for a DUI offense.

Accumulating Evidence

As soon as someone is pulled over for a possible DUI, law enforcement will begin to accumulate both physical and visual evidence to support the case. This evidence can include the defendant’s behavior and physical appearance, as well as testimony from witnesses and police reports.

In addition, the evidence normally includes at least one or more of the following: field sobriety test results, breath test results or blood test results.

While this evidence can help prove the case, this evidence can help dispute the case, as well.

Lack of Reasonable Suspicion to Stop

One of the first questions a defense attorney will ask is why the police would want to stop the defendant. Generally, a police officer has a pretty low burden of proof when making the decision to pull someone over.

However, certain challenges can be brought to question why the officer pulled the person over. Certain behavior can raise a red flag for intoxicated driving such as speeding, having a headlight or tail light out, not using headlights at night, driving too fast or too slowly or swerving.

However, if the defendant happened to do something that was not illegal but was still pulled over and then failed a field sobriety test, it is possible for the attorney to question the circumstances surrounding being pulled over.

Unlawful Detention

Another question comes up when the officer did not have a legitimate reason for detaining the driver instead of citing him or her for an offense and letting the driver leave. If the violation was something that required a simple citation and nothing more, the detention and keeping the driver there can be challenged. This challenge could be exceptionally strong if the officer did not observe any behavior or indication of the driver being intoxicated.

Many courts have considered it a violation if the initial officer asks for a DUI officer to come and forces the person to stay there for an unreasonable amount of time, especially if no reason exists for suspicion that the driver was intoxicated.

Lack of Probable Cause for Arrest

Another challenge can be brought if the officer did not have probable cause for the arrest. A defense attorney may review the Field Sobriety Test (FST), if one was given, as well as any other factors or behaviors that were observed at the time of the arrest.

If the officer is not able to articulate a reason for the arrest or the facts he or she used to make the arrest were not significant enough to satisfy the probable cause burden, this defense could end up being successful.

Lack of Admissibility of the Breath Test

Washington law enforcement utilize the BAC Datamaster or Datamaster CDM machines and the new Draeger Alcotest 9510 to test a driver’s breath.

If the officer did not follow protocol when administering the test, or if the driver had anything in his or her mouth such as fingers, vomit, water, etc., the test results could be contaminated. Further, if the driver requested to speak with an attorney before taking a breath test, or if the officer denied the driver access, the results could also be ruled inadmissible.

No Warrant to Draw Blood

If the evidence relies heavily on a blood draw done of the defendant, an additional defense can be the admissibility of the blood draw.

A warrant is needed in most situations for a blood draw to be admissible, unless the defendant gave informed consent for the draw. A defense counsel will want to review the warrant itself, ensure that the driver was given a copy of the warrant and a receipt of the blood draw taking place.

Additionally, the defense attorney will want to see if a proper chain of custody occurred with respect to the blood draw, as well as whether proper protocol was followed by the medical personnel who took the defendant’s blood.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your free consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Drunk Driving

Sentencing Enhancements for DUI Convictions

Washington State courts generally follow a sentencing grid when making determinations on how much jail time someone will serve if convicted of a driving under the influence (DUI) charge.

For the most part, courts follow these guidelines closely, but certain factors can play into whether a sentence is increased or decreased, otherwise known as sentencing enhancements.

What Are Sentencing Enhancements?

In the State of Washington, sentence enhancements are used to adjust the sentence given to a defendant in a criminal case.

Sentence enhancements are facts or circumstances in the crime that can make it seem worse or more dangerous, which will allow a judge to increase the sentence being issued.

For a DUI offense, these factors can include prior conviction, high blood alcohol concentration of the defendant, the presence of minors during the incident, or injuries or death resulting from the incident.

Prior Conviction

One of the biggest factors leading up to an increase in a sentence is if the person has prior convictions for a DUI or DUI-related offense on his or her record.

For every prior DUI conviction, the penalty goes up, essentially meaning the amount of time in jail increases based on the number of offenses, as well as the degree of offenses.

In Washington, if an offender has more than four misdemeanor offenses over a period of ten years and then is arrested again for a DUI, that person’s next offense will be considered a felony offense. This qualification happens regardless of how low the driver’s blood alcohol content may be.

High Blood-Alcohol Concentration

The State of Washington increases the penalties given to DUI offenders who have what is known as “enhanced blood-alcohol concentration.” An enhanced BAC level normally refers to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.15% or greater, which is almost twice the legal limit of 0.08%.

For a DUI conviction with a BAC greater than 0.15%, the defendant must serve a minimum of 48 hours, but no more than 364 days in jail. However, if the offender has an enhanced BAC, he or she will be given a minimum of $1,000 fine and one to two years of driver’s license suspension, as well as the ignition interlock penalty and up to five years of probation.

The purpose of this stricter sentence is to deter the defendant from committing the offense again and to protect the safety of those on the road.

Presence of Passengers or Minors

An additional consideration that prosecutors take into account is the presence of other passengers or minors.

If another person was in the car while the driver was operating the vehicle while under the influence, the prosecutor can add a reckless endangerment charge. The judge may view the driver as being reckless in endangering the safety of others in the car.

A court will look even less favorably on the actions of the intoxicated driver if children were in the car.

Compliance with the Arresting Officer

The driver’s behavior at the time of the arrest may affect the sentence, as well. For instance, if the driver refused to take the breath test at the station, the court will consider this behavior in determining whether a sentence enhancement is needed.

If the driver accosted the arresting officer or deliberately tried to evade an arrest, the court may use this to enhance the sentence also.

Injuries or Death Resulting from Incident

Another serious issue that could result in the court issuing a harsher sentence is whether any bodily injuries or death resulted from the driver’s operating a vehicle while intoxicated. Not only will this result in very serious felony charges, but the sentence often requires time in prison.

Courts view drunk drivers as a risk to the community and often levy sentences to ensure that 1) the driver does not get behind the wheel again and 2) the driver remains incarcerated to protect the safety of others on the road or in the community.

Any drunk driving incident resulting in injuries or death to others will almost always guarantee that the DUI will be charged as a felony. If injuries or death have resulted, it is also highly recommended that the defendant hire an attorney to help him or her in the matter.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your FREE consultation, 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI
Drunk Driving

Do I Need an Attorney to Defend My DUI?

If someone is facing a driving under the influence (DUI) charge, he or she may be overwhelmed and not sure what to do or what to expect. The defendant may be unsure of whether an attorney is needed or whether he or she can handle the matter alone.

When is it best to seek the assistance of legal counsel if facing a DUI?

Reasons to Hire an Attorney

Many reasons exist for why it is important to hire an attorney to assist in defending a DUI charge. Some of the most prominent reasons are:

  • Attorneys know the law, rules of evidence, and local court rules.
  • An attorney has spent a great deal of time and money on obtaining a legal education and maintaining his or her license, and it is for good reason that attorneys are brought in to help on a case.
  • The attorney will know the appropriate defense techniques. Defending a DUI is much more than saying that the person was not impaired by alcohol.
  • The attorney will know how to review the police report to ensure that the determination that the person was intoxicated was made appropriately.
  • The attorney will also be better able to argue in favor of the defendant than a layperson could.
  • An attorney will know what facts and circumstances lead to a good plea bargain, when a case is worth fighting in trial and when it is not.

Requesting a Public Defender Versus Hiring a Private Attorney

Criminal defendants have the right to an attorney. If someone cannot afford to hire an attorney, the court will appoint a public defender for that person.

Public defenders are attorneys hired by the county and are assigned to criminal cases where the defendants cannot afford an attorney.

Keep in mind that they are likely to be very familiar with the court itself, the prosecutors and attorneys on the other side and the DUI criminal laws. They are also likely to be skilled in taking cases to trial in the event plea bargaining is not successful.

One matter to be kept in mind, however, is the State of Washington has two separate proceedings for someone arrested with a DUI. The criminal proceeding would be handled by the public defender, but what about the administrative hearing involving the driver’s license? Public defenders are not appointed for these matters, and the defendant will likely need to handle this alone.

Defendants are always welcome to hire a private DUI attorney, and this person can handle both the criminal and administrative portions of the hearing.

It can help having the same attorney handle both portions of the case. While hiring a private attorney comes with legal costs, it can help to have the attorney cover the case in its entirety.

Most attorneys will work on a retainer basis, and the costs will be more if the case goes to trial. Be sure to discuss fees with an attorney before hiring him or her.

Arranging a Consultation

It never hurts to at least get a recommendation and advice on how to proceed on the case. Because most defendants are not well-versed in DUI law, it can help to meet with an attorney to go over the specifics of the case and get an idea on what to expect.

Most DUI attorneys will give clients a free consultation. After that meeting, the client can decide how to proceed.

Going to Trial

If the defendant anticipates the case going to trial, it is always recommended that an attorney be retained.

Clients are always welcome to represent themselves, but they are held to the same standard by judges that other attorneys are. Judges are not allowed to give preferential treatment to self-represented litigants, and many times, judges have little patience for these types of cases.

The best rule of thumb is to hire an attorney for the best outcome.

Contact Us Today!

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help. Call today to schedule your FREE consultation: (855) 712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Slip and Fall

by California Injury Attorney Patrick Hogan

Slip and Fall LawyerIf you were injured in a slip and fall accident, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, medical expenses and damages associated with your injuries.

A slip and fall case comes about when a property owner or someone responsible for the  property is negligent in the maintenance, repair or general upkeep of the property. When you’ve been injured on someone else’s property in a slip and fall accident, it can be unclear who is responsible for your injuries and who should pay the medical expenses you’ve incurred.

While slip and fall accidents can appear to be harmless, in many cases they can be very injurious. In fact, slip and falls are one of the leading causes of unintentional injury. Falls injure over one million people in the United States every year. A simple slip and fall accident can lead to expensive medical bills, time away from work and sometimes even death in the most severe cases.

Slip and Falls and the Law

If you or someone you care about has been injured in a slip and fall accident, it’s important to seek the assistance of an experienced slip and fall attorney. It takes skill and knowledge to know how to successfully prove the owner of the property was negligent. In order to build a strong case, your attorney must prove the following:

  • That the condition of the property where the accident happened was dangerous

  • The property owner knew or should have known about the condition of the property

  • That the owner of the property had a reasonable amount of time to repair the condition of the property

Common Causes of Slip and Fall Accidents

Wet floors come to mind when most people think of slip and fall accidents. While wet floors are a leading cause of slip and fall accidents, other things can cause these types of accidents including:

  • Abrupt changes in flooring characteristics

  • Hidden hazards such a hole in the ground

  • Uneven sidewalks

  • Ice-covered sidewalks

  • Poor lighting

  • Narrow stairways

  • Obstructions on flooring

It’s important for a victim of a slip and fall accident to contact a slip and fall accident attorney right away. The cause of the accident must be documented before the property owner has time to correct the hazard that resulted in the accident. Proof of the hazard and the victim’s resulting injuries are essential to winning a slip and fall lawsuit.

Types of Injuries That can Result from Slip and Falls

Victims of slip and fall accidents can suffer severe physical injuries which may include:

  • Broken and dislocated bones

  • Lacerations, contusions and abrasions

  • Amputations

  • Cosmetic disfigurement

  • Neck and spinal injuries

  • Traumatic head injuries and even,

  • Death

Hogan Injury specializes in slip and fall accidents. We have the experience and expertise needed to gather information necessary for building a strong case. A slip and fall accident can leave you without work, mounting medical expenses and an uncertain future. We work hard to help our slip and fall clients get the compensation they both need and deserve and we can do the same for you. We offer a No Fee Consultation service which means you don’t pay us a thing unless you win your case.

Washington Drug Forfeitures – RCW 69.50.505

civil drug forfeitureWashington State has some of the worst civil drug forfeiture laws in the country. The Government can take property it believes was part of a drug transaction. Once the government takes your property, you have the burden of proving that the property was legal acquired and unrelated to a drug crime. That’s right, you have to prove that you didn’t break the law. If you don’t prove your innocence, then you don’t get your property back.

This blog will discuss forfeitures and defenses. I’ll lay out the law by giving some examples of cases our firm is currently fighting.

Washington State Civil Drug Forfeiture Law

RCW 69.50.505 governs civil drug forfeitures. Under this law, State police agencies can seize money earned by selling drugs, as well as money intended to be used to engage in a drug transaction. The police then get to keep the majority of the money they take. Cops can also take cars and other property used to commit a crime or that makes it easier to commit a crime.

We currently represent a gentleman who was visiting a house when police arrived to search for a marijuana grow operation. Our middle aged client had a clean criminal history, and hadn’t broken any laws when he was arrested. The local police department still took his $900 claiming that it was related to the alleged marijuana grow. They also seized his phone and personal belongings.

Under RCW 69.50.505, the government may seize “proceeds” of drug dealing. The Police in the above case simply believed that since the older guy was around people who broke the law, the money he had in his pocket must have come from drug dealing. We now have the burden of proving that our client earned the money before he ever came to visit Washington State. That’s right, we have to prove that the police theft from our client was wrong. Sadly, this happens every single day as police seek to take as much money and property as possible. After all, they directly benefit from these seizures when they keep the cash and sell the items that they’ve taken.

Removing Civil Drug Forfeitures To District Court

You have to properly move a civil drug forfeiture to District Court, or the same police agency that originally took your money will decide whether police can keep your money. Wrap your head around that. The police take property and then decide whether they did it properly. Guess how often they admit that they were wrong. That’s right, cops second guessing themselves is rarer than the Mariners in a playoff game. Forfeiture victims who want to avoid this additional injustice need to get their cases away from the police and into a court with a judge.

The removal is relatively easy with a Petition to Remove and a Summons and Complaint that identifies the wrongfully forfeited property. Of course, you’ll also have to pay the Court’s filing fee and serve the police, and in our case the city mayor. You must file and serve your pleadings within 45 days of challenging the forfeiture.

Defenses to Civil Drug Forfeiture

Wining a civil drug forfeiture case is tough, but possible. Forfeiture attorneys generally attack these thefts both procedurally and factually. Procedurally, the rules are very strict, and even minor errors by police will result in the return of property.

Police must initially prove that seized money or property was illegally acquired, or would be used to commit a crime. This can be difficult for police to show. If cops fail, then they must return the seized property.

Unfortunately, if police make the initial showing of probable cause to believe the seized property is related to a crime, then the forfeiture victim has to show enough facts to prove that the property was legally obtained and wasn’t going to be used in a crime.

Police caught a recent client with a bunch of money while visiting friends here in Washington. Local police couldn’t believe the the client could have tens of thousands of dollars unless they were committing crimes. Fortunately, our client proved that the money was legal. We convinced a judge that simply having a lot of cash doesn’t make someone a criminal.

Property Forfeited

Police agencies can forfeit any type of property from cash to real estate. We most often see officers and agent seize cash, cars, trucks, boat’s, planes, motorcycles, and recreational vehicles. Less common are civil drug forfeitures of houses and real estate. A drug task force recently seized several homes and buildings following marijuana raids. At least one of the homeowners was unaware of the illegal activities going on in his house. That is a defense to forfeiture and he should get his house back.

Forfeiture victims have important rights, and a short time frame in which to act. We can help, but time is of the essence, so call Durflinger Oliver today, 253-683-4180.

Standard DUI Penalties In Washington

The State of Washington takes DUI offenses seriously when it comes to penalties received by those convicted of these crimes.

Like many states, Washington also has a set of standard penalties that are issued in DUI cases before the courts.

These penalties can include a combination of jail time, fines, license suspension, evaluations, and other penalties.

Factors Considered

The mandatory penalties that are issued for a DUI in Washington can vary depending on a number of factors.

These factors include:

• How many prior DUI offenses the defendant has within the previous seven years;

• The driver’s blood alcohol level (BAC);

• The breathalyzer results, as well as any refusals to take the test; and

• Injuries that resulted, if any, from the DUI.

First DUI In Seven Years

If a DUI is the first one that the defendant has had ever or in the last seven years, and the defendant’s BAC is below 0.15, the minimum jail sentence is one day in jail or 15 days electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $941 and 90 day license suspension.

If the driver refused to take the test or the BAC is 0.15 or above, the minimum jail sentence is two days in custody or 30 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension of one year or two years if the driver refused to take the test.

In addition, a one-year period of ignition interlock is required as a result of a first DUI conviction.

Second DUI in Seven Years

If this offense is the driver’s second DUI in seven years, the penalties do increase.

For someone who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 30 days is imposed or 60 days of electronic home monitoring, with a minimum fine of $1,196, and a license suspension for two years.

If the driver had a BAC of 0.15 or above or refused to cooperate with the test, he or she will face a minimum jail sentence of 45 days, 90 days of electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $1,621, and a license suspension of two and a half years for a high BAC or a three year suspension for refusing to take the breath test.

A second-time offense comes with at least one year of the ignition interlock, with a possibility of up to five years of the device.

Third DUI In Seven Years

If this is the driver’s third DUI in seven years, again, the penalties increase in Washington State.

For a driver who has a BAC of below 0.15, a minimum jail sentence of 90 days with 120 days electronic home monitoring is imposed, with a fine of $2,046, and three years license suspension.

If the driver has a BAC of 0.15 or over or refused to take the breath test, the jail sentence increases to a minimum of 120 days with 150 days electronic home monitoring, a minimum fine of $2,896, and license suspension for four years.

The ignition interlock device is required again, and depending on how the prior offenses were disposed of, the length can be either ten years, five years, or one year.

If the driver has had three or more DUIs, the state can also designate him or her as a Washington State habitual traffic offender (HTO).

The court will also require an alcohol evaluation and treatment at this point, as well as a victim’s impact panel.

The driver will be responsible for the costs of both of these penalties.

Additional Factors To Consider

No one situation is the same, and because of this, aggravating factors can come into play when determining the mandatory sentence to be given.

Judges are given discretion when determining whether a defendant should receive more than the mandatory minimum, based on the circumstances of the case.

Factors that could increase the sentence include the number of criminal convictions other than a DUI that the driver has on his or her record, whether the DUI led to an accident, whether there were passengers or even children present, and whether the judge believes the driver poses a risk to those on the road.

Probation

The State of Washington can impose up to five years of probation, whether the probation be monitored, unmonitored or a combination of the two types.

Monitored probation means that a probation officer is assigned to the driver’s case, and he or she is required to keep in regular contact with the officer for the term of probation.

Unmonitored means that a court clerk periodically checks compliance with the probation sentence.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Understanding How Prior DUI Convictions Affect DUI Cases

When it comes to Washington DUI laws, many factors play into how severe the penalties will be after a conviction is entered.

One of these factors is whether the defendant has prior convictions on his or her record. A prior conviction can mean many different things, however, more than just an official DUI.

Prior Offense Defined

When it comes determining a mandatory sentence, many factors are considered.

These include whether the driver has prior DUI offenses, whether he or she complied with taking the breathalyzer test, whether an accident was involved in the incident, whether any children or other passengers were present at the time, and whether the judge believes the driver posed a risk to the community.

If the driver has one or more prior offense in his or her criminal history, the minimum jail sentence that the court has to impose will likely be increased.

A prior offense is defined as an offense that has occurred within the previous seven years of the date of the current arrest.

What Offenses Qualify As A Prior Offense?

DUI

The first and most obvious offense is another DUI conviction, so long as it occurred within the seven years before the current offense the driver is facing.

A DUI can be in Washington as well as any other jurisdiction for it to be considered a prior offense.

Physical Control

Physical control is another offense considered as a “prior.”

It involves an individual being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence of or affected by alcohol or other substance or while the driver has sufficient alcohol in his or her body to have a BAC of 0.08 or higher within two hours after being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle.

Reckless Driving

A prior offense also includes reckless driving, if amended from a DUI charge. Reckless driving is defined as someone driving a motor vehicle with willful and wanton disregard for the safety of others or of property.

So long as the reckless driving charge occurred within the previous seven years and was a plea down from an original DUI charge, it will be considered a prior offense.

Reckless Endangerment

Another prior offense includes reckless endangerment, and like reckless driving, it is included if pleaded down from an original DUI charge and must have occurred within seven years of the current charge.

Negligent Driving in the First Degree

A prior offense also includes negligent driving in the first degree, which involves operating a motor vehicle in a way that is considered negligent.

This means that the individual has breached a standard of care that all drivers should follow when operating a motor vehicle.

This offense must be reduced from a DUI charge for it to be counted as a prior offense.

Deferred Prosecution

A deferred prosecution is included as a prior offense, even if it was dismissed after the required five-year period.

Deferred prosecution is a program for those who are seeking treatment for alcoholism, mental health or drug addiction.

The person must have admitted they have a problem for which treatment is needed and admit that without the treatment, he or she would likely re-offend.

Incidents Resulting in Injury

A prior offense also includes when an accident results from the DUI, including vehicular homicide or vehicular assault. The judge will also consider any injuries or death in determining the minimum sentence issued.

Operating a Commercial Motor Vehicle with THC in System

Another prior offense includes an individual operating a commercial vehicle with marijuana or THC in his or her system.

Operating Additional Vehicles or Devices Under Influence

A prior offense does not just include a car or truck. In fact, other vehicles or motorized devices can be included in terms of a prior offense.

These offenses include operating a vessel under the influence of intoxicating liquor, marijuana or other mind-altering drug, otherwise known as Boating under the Influence (BUI).

If the person has previously been arrested for operating an aircraft under the influence, this offense will be considered as a prior one.

In addition, if he or she has operated a snowmobile under the influence, this can be considered as a prior in determining the penalty.

Lastly, if the person operated a golf cart under the influence or any other “non-highway” vehicle, that can be considered, as well, as a prior offense.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Schedule your free consultation by calling 855-712-7371 today. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

Is It Possible To Plead To A Lesser Offense For A Washington State DUI?

No one wants a DUI on their record. The offense carries a great deal of negative connotation with it for the defendant.

A DUI charge can result in significantly higher insurance premiums and can hurt the driver’s chances of getting a job at a later date once the offense is on the driver’s official record.

It is for these reasons that many drivers hope to get their offense reduced to lesser charge, but is that always possible?

Reckless Driving

A reckless driving conviction is a lesser charge than a standard DUI and is considered a reduction.

Many drivers prefer a reckless driving conviction because it does not come with required jail time or fines on a first offense in seven years.

Of course, the judge always has the discretion to impose jail time depending on the circumstances, but it is not statutorily required.

If the driver does plead down to a reckless charge, however, and later receives another DUI or related charge, the reckless driving can count against him or her as a “prior” DUI, which will be used to enhance the mandatory minimum penalties on the later conviction.

A reckless driving conviction comes with a mandatory license suspension for a period of 30-days.

If the driver previously lost his or her driver’s license due to the DUI charge, he or she will not receive any additional suspension time on top of what was already “served.”

However, if the driver did not lose his or her license up until that point, the mandatory 30-day suspension period will kick in.

In some circumstances, a driver can drive during this 30-day period but only with an occupational restricted license.

First-Degree Negligent Driving

Another option available to defendants facing a DUI in Washington is a “negligent driving in the first degree.”

What this offense entails is the individual was operating a vehicle in a way that is considered negligent, meaning he or she breached the standard of care that the law believes all drivers should follow when behind the wheel, and because of his or her negligence, the driver endangered either another person or property.

In addition to this negligent behavior, the driver must have exhibited the side effects of having consumed drugs or alcohol.

Under Washington law, a first-degree negligent driving charge is a misdemeanor. The penalties include up to 90 days in jail along with a maximum fine of $1,000.

As is the case in any criminal legal matter, a judge can modify and add to this sentence depending on the circumstances of the case.

Second DUI Offenses

Matters can become much more complicated if the defendant is facing a second DUI offense or later offense.

Many states punish repeat DUI offenders more severely than first-time offenders, and Washington State is no different.

When a judge is looking at sentencing, prior convictions for DUI offenses will stay on someone’s record for seven years.

DUI offenses are not the only convictions that will be used as “priors” when coming up with later punishments.

In fact, if a driver was originally charged with a DUI but pleaded to a lesser offense, such as a “wet reckless” or first-degree negligent driving charge, that conviction will also be counted as a “prior” offense when determining the second or later offense’s punishment.

It is important that defendants discuss this possibility with their attorneys prior to agreeing to any plea bargain.

Deferred Prosecution

Is it possible that the defendant can agree to another alternative in lieu of the State prosecuting a DUI charge?

Yes, this possibility does exist in the form of a deferred prosecution.

A deferred prosecution is an agreement by the State to not prosecute a DUI in exchange for a defendant’s agreement to enter into and finish a two-year intensive outpatient alcohol, drug or mental health treatment program.

A treatment program can be pricey and generally runs between $2,000 to $5,000. Health insurance may cover the cost of a program, but not all do.

Once the defendant enters into the agreement, he or she agrees that if the program is not completed or he or she commits a violation of the conditions given by the court, the court will then review the police report to determine guilt or innocence.

This review normally results in a DUI conviction. A defendant only gets one deferred prosecution opportunity in a lifetime.

Therefore, it is extremely important that this option is considered seriously and completed fully.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call 855-712-7371 today to schedule your free consultation. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI

4 Facts About Washington’s New E-DUI Law

In 2017, Washington State took a big step towards tougher regulations on distracted driving.

Prior to the new law that was enacted in the summer of 2017, Washington had already made texting or holding a phone to the driver’s ear illegal while driving.

However, the law has been expanded into much more than that, and it is important that drivers understand what this means.

1. What Is The E-DUI?

In the Spring of 2017, the Washington state legislature expanded the already-strict distracted driving law to forbid handling a phone while behind the wheel for any reason at all.

This even included while at a stop in traffic or while at a red light. Previously, the law had simply forbidden texting and calling someone while driving.

This new law essentially makes it illegal to use a cell phone while operating a motor vehicle.

So long as the driver is in the flow of traffic, he or she is to not even touch the cell phone. If the driver wants to use an electronic device, he or she is expected to pull over and do so once out of traffic.

In addition, the law also makes it possible that a driver can be ticketed for any activity that causes the driver to be distracted and possibly drive poorly as a result, such as drinking, brushing one’s hair, eating or any other type of activity that does not include driving.

The law now classifies all of these actions as an “E-DUI.” Like driving under the influence of alcohol, the driver is “driving under the influence of electronics.”

The violation is also considered a “primary offense”, which means that police can stop you if it looks like you’ve broken the E-DUI law.

2. What Are The E-DUI Penalties?

An E-DUI infraction works on graduated scale. It starts with an initial fine of $136. A second offense and any subsequent offenses within five years will be a $234 fine.

Unlike the previous cell phone violations, a driver who receives an E-DUI will see it placed on his or her driving record, which will also be reported to the insurance provider and could very easily increase insurance premiums.

The additional activities not related to operating a car, as mentioned before, such as smoking or eating will end up with a fine of $99.

The reason for this new law? A distraction is a distraction, no matter what.

3. What Are The Exceptions?

Like so much of the law, however, there are exceptions to the rule. Drivers can use a phone while driving so long as it is “hands-free” and requires very minimal finger touching.

The driver can swipe the phone to turn it on but nothing more than that. So long as the driver keeps the phone in a cradle and uses only voice commands to operate the GPS or make calls, he or she should be in the clear.

Of course, the law does allow an exception for drivers who need to call 911 in the event of an emergency.

If the car is out of traffic and not in use, the driver can use the electronic device. However, the driver must be parked and completely outside of traffic.

If he or she needs to use a GPS to access directions, this needs to happen out of traffic and before the car starts moving.

Drivers who use a CB or two-way radio are also excluded from the law. Similarly, police officers, emergency workers or firefighters are exempt from the law, while in the line of their duties.

4. What To Do If Charged With An E-DUI

Keep in mind that the law is still relatively new and has not been fully litigated. The term “DUI” normally comes with negative connotations, and an E-DUI is no exception.

This offense will be on the driver’s record for the long haul so it so it is important that the driver do whatever can be done to minimize the damage once receiving the initial ticket.

Because the law is so new, it is recommended that the driver contact a criminal attorney to discuss his or her rights and see how would be the best way to approach the situation.

With the first offense or even second, the ticket might be flawed, and beatable. No matter what, though, the offense should not be taken seriously.

While it may not be something as taboo as alcohol or drugs, distracted driving is now being treated seriously and drivers should seek experienced legal help.

Contact Durflinger Oliver & Associates Today

If you’ve been detained or arrested, the experienced defense attorneys at Durflinger Oliver & Associates can help.

Call today to schedule your free consultation at 855-712-7371. Ask about our military discount and convenient payment plans.

Posted in DUI